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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Oxidative stress is implicated in the aetiology of schizophrenia, and the antioxidant defence system (AODS) may be protective in this illness. We examined the major antioxidant glutathione (GSH) in prefrontal brain and its correlates with clinical and demographic variables in schizophrenia.
GSH levels were measured in the dorsolateral prefrontal region of 28 patients with chronic schizophrenia using a magnetic resonance spectroscopy sequence specifically adapted for GSH. We examined correlations of GSH levels with age, age at onset of illness, duration of illness, and clinical symptoms.
We found a negative correlation between GSH levels and age at onset (r = −0.46, p = 0.015), and a trend-level positive relationship between GSH and duration of illness (r = 0.34, p = 0.076).
Our findings are consistent with a possible compensatory upregulation of the AODS with longer duration of illness and suggest that the AODS may play a role in schizophrenia.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Norovirus, a major cause of gastroenteritis in people of all ages worldwide, was first reported in South Korea in 1999. The most common causal agents of pediatric acute gastroenteritis are norovirus and rotavirus. While vaccination has reduced the pediatric rotavirus infection rate, norovirus vaccines have not been developed. Therefore, prediction and prevention of norovirus are very important. Norovirus is divided into genogroups GI–GVII, with GII.4 being the most prevalent. However, in 2012–2013, GII.17 showed a higher incidence than GII.4 and a novel variant, GII.P17-GII.17, appeared. In this study, 204 stool samples collected in 2013–2014 were screened by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction; 11 GI (5.39%) and 45 GII (22.06%) noroviruses were identified. GI.4, GI.5, GII.4, GII.6 and GII.17 were detected. The whole genomes of the three norovirus GII.17 were sequenced. The whole genome of GII.17 consists of three open reading frames of 5109, 1623 and 780 bp. Compared with 20 GII.17 strains isolated in other countries, we observed numerous changes in the protruding P2 domain of VP1 in the Korean GII.17 viruses. Our study provided genome information that might aid in epidemic prevention, epidemiology studies and vaccine development.
Introduction: Competence committees (CCs) struggle with incorporating professionalism issues into resident progression decisions. This study examined how professionalism concerns influence individual faculty decisions about resident progression using simulated CC reviews. Methods: In 2017, the investigators conducted a survey of 25 program directors of Royal College emergency medicine residency training programs in Canada and those faculty members who are members of the CCs (or equivalent) at their home institution. The survey contained twelve resident portfolios, each containing formative and summative information available to a CC for making progression decisions. Six portfolios outlined residents progressing as expected and six were not progressing as expected. Further, a professionalism variable (PV) was added to six portfolios, evenly split between those residents progressing as expected and not. Participants were asked to make progression decisions based on each portfolio. Results: Raters were able to consistently identify a resident needing an educational intervention versus those who did not. When a PV was added, the consistency among raters decreased by 34.2% in those residents progressing as expected, versus increasing by 3.8% in those not progressing as expected (p = 0.01). Conclusion: When using an unstructured review of a simulated resident portfolio, individual reviewers can better discriminate between trainees progressing as expected when professionalism concerns are added. Considering this, educators using a competence committee in a CBME program must have a system to acquire and document professionalism issues to make appropriate progress decisions.
Increasingly, demands are placed on healthcare systems to meet antimicrobial stewardship standards and reporting requirements. This trend, combined with reduced financial and personnel resources, has created a need to adopt information technology (IT) to help ease these burdens and facilitate action. The incorporation of IT into an antimicrobial stewardship program can help improve stewardship intervention efficiencies and facilitate the tracking and reporting of key metrics, including outcomes. This paper provides a review of the stewardship-related functionality within these IT systems, describes how these platforms can be used to improve antimicrobial use, and identifies how they can support current and potential future antimicrobial stewardship regulatory and accreditation standards. Finally, recommendations to help close the gaps in existing systems are provided and suggestions for future areas of development within these programs are delineated.
Resonant optical dipole antennas, consisting either of two arms coupled by a small gap or of a single, uncoupled arm only, are fabricated by the application of electron beam lithography and gold evaporation. Using dark-field microscopy, scattering spectra of structures with varied antenna arm length and varied gap size are obtained. The results show not only a spectral redshift for coupled structures compared to single arm structures, but also that the far-field scattering intensity is significantly higher for two arm structures with gap. In addition to the dipole structures, first fabrication results on quadrupole antennas and split-ring antennas are presented, offering novel pathways for an enhancement of the optical response function.
Production electrolytic chromium coatings suffer from cracks, which result from high internal stresses generated during the electrolytic crystallization process. This paper characterizes the anisotropy, texture and residual stress state in high contraction chromium coatings on steel-Strong <111> fiber texture, almost perfect in-plane azimuthal symmetry, and high surface residual stresses were observed. Anisotropy factor and aggregate elastic moduli were calculated from single crystal elastic constants. A matrix inversion method was developed to solve for biaxial residual stress and unstrained lattice parameter in textured chromium coatings. Assuming an isotropic elastic Hill-Neerfeld model, residual stress was also evaluated using the sin2ψ method adapted to multiple families of reflections.
The intensities of x-rays scattered by amorphous Fe80P13C7 and Fe40Ni40P14B6 samples have been measured as a function of photon energies E at fixed scattering angles 2θi using a Li-drifted Si detector and polychromatic x-rays generated by a 50KV full-wave rectified generator. The coherently scattered intensity per atom was calculated for free-standing samples as well as samples contained in a Be or pyrolytic graphite cell, after the evaluation of the energy dependence of the primary beam spectrum by an iterative process. The interference functions were then calculated from the data obtained in transmission and reflection, and compared with those measured with the conventional variable 2θ technique. Good agreement between energy-dispersive diffraction (also called variable wavelength technique) and variable 2θ diffraction was observed in all cases.
Reciprocal space mapping can be efficiently carried out using a position-sensitive x-ray detector (PSD) coupled to a traditional double-axis diffractometer. The PSD offers parallel measurement of the total scattering angle of all diffracted x-rays during a single rocking-curve scan. As a result, a two-dimensional reciprocal space map can be made in a very short time similar to that of a one-dimensional rocking-curve scan. Fast, efficient reciprocal space mapping offers numerous routine advantages to the x-ray diffraction analyst. Some of these advantages arc the explicit differentiation of lattice strain from crystal orientation effects in strain-relaxed heteroepitaxial layers; the nondestructive characterization of the size, shape and orientation of nanocrystalline domains in ordered-alloy epilayers; and the ability to measure the average size and shape of voids in porous epilayers. Here, the PSD-based diffractometer is described, and specific examples clearly illustrating the advantages of complete reciprocal space analysis are presented.
Early institutional rearing is associated with increased risk for subsequent peer relationship difficulties, but the underlying mechanisms have not been identified. Friendship characteristics, social behaviors with peers, normed assessments of social problems, and social cue use were assessed in 142 children (mean age = 10.06, SD = 2.02; range 7–13 years), of whom 67 were previously institutionalized (PI), and 75 were raised by their biological families. Anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, often elevated among PI children, were examined as potential mediators of PI status and baseline social functioning and longitudinal follow-ups (2 and 4 years later). Twenty-seven percent of PI children fell above the Child Behavior Checklist Social Problems cutoff. An examination of specific social behaviors with peers indicated that PI and comparison children did not differ in empathic concern or peer social approach, though parents were more likely to endorse aggression/overarousal as a reason that PI children might struggle with friendships. Comparison children outperformed PI children in computerized testing of social cue use learning. Finally, across these measures, social difficulties exhibited in the PI group were mediated by ADHD symptoms with predicted social problems assessed 4 years later. These findings show that, when PI children struggle with friendships, mechanisms involving attention and behavior regulation are likely contributors.
We observed pediatric S. aureus hospitalizations decreased 36% from 26.3 to 16.8 infections per 1,000 admissions from 2009 to 2016, with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) decreasing by 52% and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus decreasing by 17%, among 39 pediatric hospitals. Similar decreases were observed for days of therapy of anti-MRSA antibiotics.
A cluster of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns was detected in October 2015. Interviews initially identified nut butters, kale, kombucha, chia seeds and nutrition bars as common exposures. Epidemiologic, environmental and traceback investigations were conducted. Thirteen ill people infected with the outbreak strain were identified in 10 states with illness onset during 18 July–22 November 2015. Eight of 10 (80%) ill people reported eating Brand A raw sprouted nut butters. Brand A conducted a voluntary recall. Raw sprouted nut butters are a novel outbreak vehicle, though contaminated raw nuts, nut butters and sprouted seeds have all caused outbreaks previously. Firms producing raw sprouted products, including nut butters, should consider a kill step to reduce the risk of contamination. People at greater risk for foodborne illness may wish to consider avoiding raw products containing raw sprouted ingredients.
Objectives: Past research suggests that youth with sex chromosome aneuploidies (SCAs) present with verbal fluency deficits. However, most studies have focused on sex chromosome trisomies. Far less is known about sex chromosome tetrasomies and pentasomies. Thus, the current research sought to characterize verbal fluency performance among youth with sex chromosome trisomies, tetrasomies, and pentasomies by contrasting how performance varies as a function of extra X number and X versus Y status. Methods: Participants included 79 youth with SCAs and 42 typically developing controls matched on age, maternal education, and racial/ethnic background. Participants completed the phonemic and semantic conditions of a verbal fluency task and an abbreviated intelligence test. Results: Both supernumerary X and Y chromosomes were associated with verbal fluency deficits relative to controls. These impairments increased as a function of the number of extra X chromosomes, and the pattern of impairments on phonemic and semantic fluency differed for those with a supernumerary X versus Y chromosome. Whereas one supernumerary Y chromosome was associated with similar performance across fluency conditions, one supernumerary X chromosome was associated with relatively stronger semantic than phonemic fluency skills. Conclusions: Verbal fluency skills in youth with supernumerary X and Y chromosomes are impaired relative to controls. However, the degree of impairment varies across groups and task condition. Further research into the cognitive underpinnings of verbal fluency in youth with SCAs may provide insights into their verbal fluency deficits and help guide future treatments. (JINS, 2018, 24, 917–927)
Identifying factors that influence the functional outcome is an important goal in schizophrenia research. The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a unique genetic model with high risk (20–25%) for schizophrenia. This study aimed to identify potentially targetable domains of neurocognitive functioning associated with functional outcome in adults with 22q11DS.
We used comprehensive neurocognitive test data available for 99 adults with 22q11DS (n = 43 with schizophrenia) and principal component analysis to derive four domains of neurocognition (Verbal Memory, Visual and Logical Memory, Motor Performance, and Executive Performance). We then investigated the association of these neurocognitive domains with adaptive functioning using Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales data and a linear regression model that accounted for the effects of schizophrenia status and overall intellectual level.
The regression model explained 46.8% of the variance in functional outcome (p < 0.0001). Executive Performance was significantly associated with functional outcome (p = 0.048). Age and schizophrenia were also significant factors. The effects of Executive Performance on functioning did not significantly differ between those with and without psychotic illness.
The findings provide the impetus for further studies to examine the potential of directed (early) interventions targeting Executive Performance to improve long-term adaptive functional outcome in individuals with, or at high risk for, schizophrenia. Moreover, the neurocognitive test profiles may benefit caregivers and clinicians by providing insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of individuals with 22q11DS, with and without psychotic illness.
BACKGROUND: Meningiomas are the most common primary benign brain tumors in adults. Given the extended life expectancy of most meningiomas, consideration of quality of life (QOL) is important when selecting the optimal management strategy. There is currently a dearth of meningioma-specific QOL tools in the literature. OBJECTIVE: In this systematic review, we analyze the prevailing themes and propose toward building a meningioma-specific QOL assessment tool. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted, and only original studies based on adult patients were considered. QOL tools used in the various studies were analyzed for identification of prevailing themes in the qualitative analysis. The quality of the studies was also assessed. RESULTS: Sixteen articles met all inclusion criteria. Fifteen different QOL assessment tools assessed social and physical functioning, psychological, and emotional well-being. Patient perceptions and support networks had a major impact on QOL scores. Surgery negatively affected social functioning in younger patients, while radiation therapy had a variable impact. Any intervention appeared to have a greater negative impact on physical functioning compared to observation. CONCLUSION: Younger patients with meningiomas appear to be more vulnerable within social and physical functioning domains. All of these findings must be interpreted with great caution due to great clinical heterogeneity, limited generalizability, and risk of bias. For meningioma patients, the ideal QOL questionnaire would present outcomes that can be easily measured, presented, and compared across studies. Existing scales can be the foundation upon which a comprehensive, standard, and simple meningioma-specific survey can be prospectively developed and validated.
Childhood obesity rates are higher among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian children. It has been hypothesized that early-life influences beginning with the intrauterine environment predict the development of obesity in the offspring. The aim of this paper was to assess, in 227 mother–child dyads from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort, associations between prematurity, Gestation Related-Optimal Weight (GROW) centiles, maternal adiposity (percentage body fat, visceral fat area), maternal non-fasting plasma glucose levels (measured at mean gestational age of 23.1 weeks) and offspring BMI and adiposity (abdominal circumference, subscapular skinfold thickness) in early childhood (mean age 23.4 months). Maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations were positively associated with infant birth weight (P=0.005) and GROW customized birth weight centiles (P=0.008). There was a significant association between maternal percentage body fat (P=0.02) and visceral fat area (P=0.00) with infant body weight in early childhood. Body mass index (BMI) in early childhood was significantly higher in offspring born preterm compared with those born at term (P=0.03). GROW customized birth weight centiles was significantly associated with body weight (P=0.01), BMI (P=0.007) and abdominal circumference (P=0.039) at early childhood. Our findings suggest that being born preterm, large for gestational age or exposed to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and higher maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations are associated with increased obesity risk in early childhood. Future strategies should aim to reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity in women of child-bearing age and emphasize the importance of optimal glycemia during pregnancy, particularly in Indigenous women.
Giardia duodenalis is the most common intestinal parasite of humans in the USA, but the risk factors for sporadic (non-outbreak) giardiasis are not well described. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado and Minnesota public health departments conducted a case-control study to assess risk factors for sporadic giardiasis in the USA. Cases (N = 199) were patients with non-outbreak-associated laboratory-confirmed Giardia infection in Colorado and Minnesota, and controls (N = 381) were matched by age and site. Identified risk factors included international travel (aOR = 13.9; 95% CI 4.9–39.8), drinking water from a river, lake, stream, or spring (aOR = 6.5; 95% CI 2.0–20.6), swimming in a natural body of water (aOR = 3.3; 95% CI 1.5–7.0), male–male sexual behaviour (aOR = 45.7; 95% CI 5.8–362.0), having contact with children in diapers (aOR = 1.6; 95% CI 1.01–2.6), taking antibiotics (aOR = 2.5; 95% CI 1.2–5.0) and having a chronic gastrointestinal condition (aOR = 1.8; 95% CI 1.1–3.0). Eating raw produce was inversely associated with infection (aOR = 0.2; 95% CI 0.1–0.7). Our results highlight the diversity of risk factors for sporadic giardiasis and the importance of non-international-travel-associated risk factors, particularly those involving person-to-person transmission. Prevention measures should focus on reducing risks associated with diaper handling, sexual contact, swimming in untreated water, and drinking untreated water.